RFE/RL Armenian Service – 01/29/2024


Top Aide To Iran’s Khamenei Visits Armenia

Armenia - Kamal Kharrazi, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali 
Khamenei, meets Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Yerevan, January 29, 

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian praised Iran for supporting Armenia’s position on 
transport links with Azerbaijan when he met with a senior adviser to Iranian 
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Yerevan on Monday.

The official, Kamal Kharrazi, also heads Iran’s Strategic Council for Foreign 
Relations reportedly linked to Khamenei’s office. He had served as Iranian 
foreign minister from 1997-2005.

The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict was high on the agenda of Kharrazi’s separate 
talks with Pashinian and Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan.

“Minister Mirzoyan presented Armenia’s approaches in detail, emphasizing the 
imperative of unconditional respect for Armenia’s territorial integrity, 
inviolability of borders and sovereignty,” said the Armenian Foreign Ministry.

Both Pashinian and Mirzoyan were reported to stress the importance of Tehran’s 
“positive” reaction to Yerevan’s “Crossroads of Peace” project which they view 
as a blueprint for opening the Armenian-Azerbaijani border to travel and 

The project says that Armenia and Azerbaijan should have full control of 
transport infrastructure inside each other’s territory. Iran’s Foreign Minister 
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian praised it during a December visit to Yerevan.

Azerbaijan afterwards renewed its demands for an extraterritorial corridor that 
would connect it to its Nakhichevan exclave through Syunik, the only Armenian 
region bordering Iran. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said people and cargo 
should be allowed to move through that corridor “without any checks.” Yerevan 
continues to reject those demands.

Iran has repeatedly warned against attempts to strip it of the common border and 
transport links with Armenia. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reportedly told a 
visiting Azerbaijani official in October 2023 that the corridor sought by Baku 
is “resolutely opposed by Iran.” Khamenei likewise made this clear to Turkish 
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when they met in Tehran in 2022.

Armenia’s position on the issue has been criticized by not only Azerbaijan and 
Turkey but also Russia, its longtime ally. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei 
Lavrov complained on January 18 that Yerevan opposes Russian control of a Syunik 
road and railway leading to Nakhichevan. Lavrov claimed that a Russian-brokered 
agreement that stopped the 2020 war in Karabakh calls for “neutral border and 
customs control” there. Armenian leaders deny this.

CSTO Decisions Still Not Signed By Armenia

Belarus - Russia's President Vladimir Putin poses for a photo with other leaders 
of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation during a meeting in the 
Belarusian capital Minsk, November 23, 2023.

Armenia has still not signed up to agreements reached by the other members of 
the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) during a November 
summit boycotted by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, a senior official said on 

“The issue is under discussion,” Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanian told 
reporters. He gave no reason for the delay.

The decisions made by the presidents of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan 
and Tajikistan at the November 23 meeting in Minsk included the creation of CSTO 
member states’ new joint air-defense system. The secretary general of the 
military alliance, Imangali Tasmagambetov, submitted their copies to the 
Armenian government for consideration during a December visit to Yerevan. 
Tasmagambetov was only received by Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan.

Pashinian’s boycott of the Minsk summit highlighted Armenia’s growing 
estrangement from the CSTO, which is calling into question its continued 
membership in the bloc.

Armenia officially requested military aid from its CSTO allies after 
Azerbaijan’s offensive military operations launched along the 
Armenian-Azerbaijani border in September 2022. It has since repeatedly accused 
them of ignoring the request in breach of the CSTO’s statutes and declared 

Yerevan has not only shunned various-level CSTO meetings but also cancelled a 
CSTO exercise in Armenia slated for 2023, refused to name an Armenian deputy 
head of the organization and recalled the Armenian representative to its Moscow 
headquarters in September.

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested in December that Armenia is not 
planning to leave the CSTO and attributed Yerevan’s boycott of the organization 
to internal “processes” taking place in the country. By contrast, the Russian 
Foreign Ministry earlier accused Pashinian of systematically “destroying” 
Russian-Armenian relations.

Pashinian Proposes Nonaggression Pact With Azerbaijan (UPDATED)

        • Shoghik Galstian
        • Ruzanna Stepanian

Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian speaks during an Army Day celebation in 
Yerevan, .

Armenia is ready to sign a nonaggression pact with Azerbaijan and give other 
“guarantees” to Baku, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Sunday.

The Azerbaijani government dismissed the proposals on Monday.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev demanded safeguards against Armenian 
“revanchism” in December, saying that an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty would 
not be enough to preclude another war between the two countries. Pashinian 
expressed on January 20 readiness to meet this demand if Azerbaijan recognizes 
Armenia’s territorial integrity through that treaty “without any reservations.”

“We are ready to give such long-term and irreversible guarantees but expect the 
same guarantees from others,” he reiterated during an official event to mark the 
32nd anniversary of the official establishment of Armenia’s armed forces.

In that context, Pashinian pointed to a mutual withdrawal of Armenian and 
Azerbaijani troops from the border between the two countries which has been 
proposed by Yerevan and categorically rejected by Baku.

“We have also proposed to Armenia a demilitarization of the border and also a 
mutual mechanism for arms control and the also signing of a nonaggression 
agreement if it turns out that the signing of a peace treaty takes longer than 
expected,” he said.

Pashinian tried hard to negotiate the peace treaty after explicitly recognizing 
Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh about a year ago. He kept pressing 
for such an accord even after Azerbaijan recaptured Karabakh and forced its 
entire population to flee to Armenia last September.

“The Republic of Armenia should identify itself with the territory on which it 
was recognized by the international community … We must state clearly and 
unequivocally that we do not and will not have any claims to any other 
territory, and this should become the strategic basis for ensuring Armenia's 
external security,” Pashinian said on Sunday.

The premier signaled on January 18 plans to try to enact a new Armenian 
constitution for that purpose, prompting scorn from opposition groups.

Commenting on Pashinian’s latest statement, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry 
claimed that the current Armenian constitution contains “encroachments on the 
territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.” Instead of taking concrete 
steps to eliminate them, the Armenian government is voicing “proposals that make 
no practical sense,” a ministry spokesman said, adding that Yerevan is not 
serious about normalizing Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.

Azerbaijan remains reluctant to formally recognize Armenia’s current borders. In 
early January, Aliyev renewed his demands for Armenia to open an 
extraterritorial corridor to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave. He also demanded 
Armenian withdrawal from “eight Azerbaijani villages” and again dismissed 
Yerevan’s insistence on using the most recent Soviet maps to delimit the 
Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Pashinian rejected those demands, saying that they amount to territorial claims 
to Armenia. His foreign minister, Ararat Mirzoyan again spoke last week of 
“significant regression” in Baku’s position on the peace deal with Yerevan. 
Armenian opposition leaders insisted, for their part, that Pashinian cannot 
prevent another Azerbaijani attack on Armenia with what they see as additional 
concessions offered to Aliyev.

Lilit Galstian, a parliament deputy from the main opposition Hayastan alliance, 
said on Monday that the latest Armenian proposals to Baku revealed by Pashinian 
are further proof of the failure of his declared “peace agenda.”

“Nikol Pashinian … constantly throws out thoughts, new ideas which once again 
subject our society to further stress,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “Not 
only has the peace process failed but we keep hearing aggressive rhetoric by 

Pashinian’s government is engaged in “inadequate behavior” in the face of 
Azerbaijani war preparations, she said.

Reposted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
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